YouGov’s weekly results for the Sunday Times are now up online here. Current voting intentions are CON 31%, LAB 42%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 11% – typical of late, and no signs of any “Thatcher effect”, positive or negative.

46% of people think Thatcher was a great (20%) or good (26%) Prime Minister, compared to 35% who think she was a poor (9%) or terrible (26%) Prime Minister. Only 10% said she was just average. For what it’s worth these figures are a bit more negative than when YouGov asked the same question for the Sun at the start of the week – could be people less willing to be negative when the person being asked about has only just died, or the coverage grating on people’s nerves, or just normal sample variation. We can’t tell.

How much Thatcher divides opinion is apparent when you compare here to other past Prime Minister. She is rated more positively than Blair, Brown and Major, but more striking is how opinions on her are more extreme – many people say either great or terrible (46% between them), where with other recent PMs opinion tends to cluster around the mid-point.

So for Tony Blair 30% thought he was good, 36% bad, 30% average (and only 4% and 14% said great or terrible). For Gordon Brown 10% said good, 62% bad, 25% average (2% great, 31% terrible). For John Major 12% said good, 35% bad, 40% average (1% great, 9% terrible). YouGov asked about Heath too… but got lots of don’t knows, showing the limitations of asking the general public about politicians who were in power before many of them were born. Asked which later Prime Minister can best claim to be the heir of Thatcher (a good or bad thing depending on your point of view!), 52% of people said either none of them or don’t know. Of those who did answer, David Cameron was the most common response with 23%.

People were somewhat more evenly split on whether Thatcher was good or bad for the country – 42% thought she was good, 38% bad. On balance people thought that she left a country that was better off, was more respected in the world and offered more opportunities for women. However, people also thought she left a country that was more divided and less equal. Overwhelmingly they thought she did not do enough to support areas where traditional mining and manufacturing industries were closed.

Asking about the specific policies Mrs Thatcher introduced in office there were very divided opinions. Large majorities (68%) thought she was right to use force to retake the Falklands and to get a rebate on Britain’s EEC contributions. Majorities of people thought it was right to introduce the right to buy (60%) and to take on the trade unions (55%). By 46% to 36% people also thought it was right to cut the top rate of income tax from 83% to 40%.

People were negative about the introduction of Section 28, prioritising inflation over unemployment, deregulating the City of London and privatising utilities like British Gas and British Telecom. By far the most negative reaction was to the Poll tax, which 68% of people thought was the wrong thing to do.

Moving on to the reactions to her death, on balance people support the BBC coverage of her death – 24% think it has been too positive, 16% too negative, 40% that they have got the balance about right. The decision to recall Parliament is seen as wrong by 49% of people compared to 35% who think it was right, and 53% think those Labour MPs who did not attend were right to say away. David Cameron’s own response is seen as appropriate – 47% think he has respondents in an appropriate and dignified way, as opposed to 28% who think he has tried to play her death for political advantage.

On the funeral, 8% of people think Thatcher should have been given a full state funeral, 42% that the ceremonial funeral she is being given is correct, 43% that she should have been given neither. The Queen’s decision to attend is seen as correct by 57% of people.

There is comparatively little support for any further commemoration. Only 29% would support a new statue of Thatcher in London (and only 18% a statue in Trafalgar Square) and only 17% would support renaming Port Stanley after her. However, there is also wide scale rejection of people who have organised parties to celebrate her death – only 14% of people think this is acceptable, 75% unacceptable (including a clear majority of Labour party supporters).

288 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 42, LD 12, UKIP 11”

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  1. Alec
    I’ve read some patronizing and pompous comments on these pages but yours rates right up there, even those of us on the centre right can make our own minds up about EM as usual his responce is a muddle, he opposed the idea of regeonal pay differences but supports regional benefit caps, I certainally don’t need to read a newspaper to see the conflict in those two idea’s or doggedly believe everything that comes out of a politicians mouth, if it suits our own political leanings.

  2. Turk

    Can you remind me of Cameron’s policies in 2008, 2 years before the elections. Were there any he got right?

    The fact that the Tories idolise a PM who was thrown out by her own party for being so unpopular, have a leader who manages to get virtually every big decision wrong and their star of the future is a man whose economy with the actualité makes any opinion from them or one of their supporters difficult to take seriously.

    A party who has not won an election for 21 years and yet it is still Labour who are doing everything wrong.

    Miliband may not be by any means perfect but compared to the current incumbent, he really doesn’t have to do that much.

  3. There was a very interesting item on Radio Five last night, in which someone compared Ed M to Margaret Thatcher, in terms of their interest in ideas, and being regarded as odd at the start of their careers.

  4. @ bcrombie,

    Cameron was clearly saying he would reduce the size of Govt from quite early out, and he has stuck to this. I would say this was a reasonably big commitment.

    It’s a shame you keep having a go at MT, hopefully we will move off this soon and back to polling. She won three big elections, two landslides, and was never voted out by the people. This is all factual, no matter how much anybody on the left wants to spin it. Since MT we have had 13 years of Labour, which given how many on the left seem to be blaming MT for everything wrong in society, seems to be a bizarre air brushing out of New Labours significant period in office and opportunity to shape things with their own landslides.

    Back to polling?!

  5. @Rich

    Remember I told you not to despair. Read the detail of the ICM poll and be encouraged. Forget the Guardians slant (Cameron isn’t Thatcher etc) but look at Leader approvals. Ed M is slipping badly again. You should also look at GO’s approval, on the up significantly since the budget. As I said the other day….. all to play for.

  6. Rich

    No apologist for Blair but I grew up in the 80s and I saw her impact, and her lack of empathy. I would have let her death go pretty much uncommented if we didn’t have the media hagiographies and also the nauseating spectacle of a militarisation of a political funeral.

  7. @ Anthony

    Will you be covering the ICM poll on a new thread? Also, with an ICM at only +6 for Labour, this might be a good time to update the Latest Voting Intention sidebar. :-)



    I found this comparison :-

    Quite staggered by some of that.

    Would rather not comment on Mark Thatcher thanks.

  9. Colin

    Quite eye-opening isn’t it.

    Our welfare system seems less generous when seeing that

    The £26k figure that gets repeated ad nauseum without any qualifying statement is such a false premise for debate.
    The vast majority of households will get nothing like £26k. The cost of housing varies hugely across the country & the only households likely to get anything like £26k live in London but it suits the government & its supporters to give the impression that all households in receipt of benefits will get that amount.
    April 15th, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    From the DWP’s own estimation 40,000 families will be affected by the benefit cap,So it’s small beans really when there is 2.5 million on unemployment.The average saving will be £93 pounds per family per week which on top of rising prices and utilities is going to be a massive hit.The 26,000 is just the highest number the Coalition can say to make it sound like more people are in receipt of this amount.The majority live in London and the other have larger then normal families.I’d like to start seeing actual facts instead of the tribal party spin.It is sadly lacking in our democracy at the moment,a little truth would go a long way to bringing the population back into politics.

    PS.I have noticed because I am a lurker and enjoy reading all your comments from all sides,that lately it has become a bit Left and Right.Maybe a bit confrontational, especially over Mrs Thatcher.

    Peace,Love and harmony.

  11. Anthony Wells ,Excellent site and great interventions.Can I ask if you yourself have any views on the Coalition or do you not get into that type of debate.

  12. @Shaun,

    AW is a self-confessed Conservative, but you won’t find him giving political opinions here. He doesn’t really want us to do it either, and does a good job of leading by example.

    We just do a terrible job of following his example..

  13. Don’t suppose anyone else has suddenly got Midget Font Size on UKPR?

    I have looked at my Chrome settings-but no other web page is doing this.

  14. I’d like to thank Leftylampton for his kind words about my blog post above. Much appreciated, and I’m glad he (or she) enjoyed it.

  15. Neil A

    Speak for yourself Neil A! :-).

    Actually you do, which is refreshing.

  16. @Turk – “I’ve read some patronizing and pompous comments on these pages but yours rates right up there…”

    Thanks – I thought it was quite good too.

  17. @Colin – “Midget Font Size”

    Is that PC, even if it is PC?

  18. NL has agrred with unions and employers (guess what, they make agreements) that last salary unemployment benefits will be limited to 3 years staring in 2016.

    The point is that people *pay* for these benefits through higher social security and tax.payments.

    As our Dutch Jewish friends have it ‘ for nothing does the sun rise each morning’.

  19. Hopefully the typos were not impenetrable.

  20. ALEC

    It is PC-yes.

  21. When I lived in NL in the 80s, the benefits for being sick were 100% of last salary. I can’t remember whether there was a time limit (I was off sick for 9 months) but I never reached it.

  22. I’ve been interested in the last 24hrs about the noises coming out of Germany regarding future EZ bailouts. The message seems clear, that their discovery that you can close financial borders and squeeze money out of large depositors above the limits guaranteed, is really gaining hold.

    A number of statements have been made that this is the future for such bailouts, with particular reference to hitting the wealthy to pay for bailout costs. While I favour the general approach of looking at wealth and the wealthiest as a better means to fund part of the crisis, I remain of the mind that seizing money from wealthy bank depositors is potentially self defeating. Taxation yes, asset seizure in a crisis no. The risks of removing confidence from the banking sector just seem too great.

    Interestingly though, the French government is now mired in crisis with the revelations that their tax minister kept a substantial Swiss bank account, and I think the reaction to this and the German rumblings are beginning to look significant.

    We always assume that crises happen quickly, and that political revolutions occur on one date in the calender – an election, or similar. In truth, modern western political revolutions are much longer, messier affairs, when we often don’t realise we’ve been through one until we look back.

    I said post 2010 that this crisis and the response still had a very long way to run, and I still hold to that. What I’m beginning to sense is that across Europe there is a head of steam building up that wants to redress the balance that has developed since (well yes – this is the truth) the 1980s. Thatcher’s death may actually be more symbolic than we think.

    Historically we have established a broad economic and political consensus that suits the times. So far, they have all failed, after varying lengths of time, following a collective failure and crisis, out of which the next operational template is forged. This is where we are now.

    We are slowly burying Thatcherism, at least in our approach to finance, wealth and many elements of taxation. I can see a new economic framework beginning to emerge, with nations reasserting their authority over finance. Politics without consensus is far more interesting.

  23. @ Alec

    The last thing which I read, the EU will not tax bank accounts because of cash-flight. They will tax property. And because the property market in Greece, Spain etc. is rather stagnant, selling up would involve a significant loss so best for the owner to pay up.

    It should also slow future booms &/or ensure more properties are available for rent because corporate investors will not buy properties & leave them empty… but I expect there will be lobbying from pension funds so that corporates (who’s largest shareholders are often pension funds) get an exemption from the tax & only individuals have to pay.

  24. Alec
    politics without consensus is far more interesting


    brings to mind the old Chinese curse, ‘may you live in interesting times’.

  25. The benefits trial has started in Bromley, Croydon and two other London boroughs. Not quite sure why the government chose Bromley. Most of the borough’s population are benefit-free. Croydon should be interesting.

  26. Bomb blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Oh dear.

  27. @ Amber

    In Dubai they simply dismantle blocks to keep the rent profitable. Judging from the fact that Dubai is now largely owned by Abu Dhabi, it is not a magic pill.

    Actually the policy you described could work in France.

  28. Turk

    There is a huge difference between benefits, which are intended to cover living costs, which may vary from area to area, and the idea of setting regional salaries at levels which will destroy the ability of many more people from moving areas. This is the case already in too many cases and it can’t be a good idea to extend it.

    The problem with picking on a couple of things to prove how daft politoician x or y is is that it doesn’t allow for the complex nature inherent in most decisions to be thoroughly be debated. Its what the Sun and the Mail do to enthuse the biased amongst their readership.

  29. @Paul,

    So it matters if family on benefits can afford to live in London, but not if a working family can afford to live in London?

  30. SHAUN
    “.I have noticed because I am a lurker and enjoy reading all your comments from all sides,that lately it has become a bit Left and Right.Maybe a bit confrontational, especially over Mrs Thatcher.”

    Welcome & for me it’s good that I am no longer the newest newbie :-)

    Ignore the partisan guff – it’s not too bad most of the time.

  31. @ Laszlo

    You probably know already that Germany had no wide-scale boom in property; German tenancies & rents are subject to strong regulation.

    Non-institutional private landlords dominate the German market of residential rental property. These private, small-scale suppliers manage 14.5 million residential units, that is, approx. 60 % of all residential rental property, and thus shape the – by international standards, unusually tight – supply structure.

    Germany’s politicians increasingly believe that property bubbles caused the crash. Germany, the country, did not have such a boom.

    But it would be interesting to know how much property in the ‘problem’ countries is owned by Germans. For that, I have not yet found any information.

  32. @Oldstreet (sorry for delayed response, I do other things too!)

    “With regard to the morality of forcing families on benefits to move to cheaper areas – it makes me uneasy and it could easily be interpreted as social cleansing.”

    They are not forced. They can either economise, or get a job, or move. Working families have to decide where to live according to what they can afford. Why should benefits claimants be different?

  33. @Neil A

    Given what has just happened in Boston, Central London will probably be locked-down on Wednesday.

  34. Working families are benefit claimants.

  35. Most benefit claimants are working.

  36. New Thread

  37. Brendan

    A summing it IS you given the trolling problems you faced in the past, you are very welcome. Your blog is a thought provoking one and also deeply moving for a parent to read. And the particular post I quoted crystallised long-pondered but ill-focused wooly thoughts of my own into sharp relief. A few weeks after you wrote it, I had the misfortune to share a flight to Brussels with a couple if dozen Leeds Utd fans whose behaviour made me deeply depressed about what our image of Englishness is/was. Your post perfectly captured the sickness that results in those attitudes.

    Many thanks.

  38. Cheers, LL – it’s me all right, and those problems appear to have abated for now. Do feel free to comment on my blog if you wish.

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